As readers of this blog likely already know – I LOVE detailing my own cars.
Normally one of the first things I do once buying a car is to spend an entire weekend doing the paint correction, interior deep clean, and DIY ceramic coating, both because I love the process and it’s fun to try new products and blog about them here.
But when I got my R8 and learned it was a 1 of 1 custom ordered paint job in Night Blue Pearl Effect – which is the darkest blue I’ve ever seen – I decided to seek professional help and call in the experts at Elite Finish Detailing in San Diego.
Everyone knows that dark colors are very difficult to get perfect…and a car of this magnitude deserves as close to perfect as you can get.
Furthermore, there were some areas that needed extra attention such as the aftermarket carbon fiber side blades that were scratched up and needed wet-sanded, as well as the DIY tint-job on the sidemarkers that was extremely sloppy to say the least.
Elite Finish Detailing is known as the best in San Diego, and likely all of California, and I’m fortunate to have made friends with Kevin their shop manager after seeing him at Cars & Coffee all of the time. It’s always great to work with shops that are just as passionate about cars as I am, and Elite Finish (and Kevin in particular) really know their stuff.
I brought my R8 in for an initial consult where the Elite Finish team poured over it and gave me a detailed assessment of how they plan to attack it…from fixing some of the issues, to the products they’re going to use, and even some options to fit within different budgets. I gave the team an open budget to get the car as near perfect as they could, and it was worth every penny.
First of all, the sidemarkers were returned back to stock and the copious amounts of tint overspray were removed from the fenders. This alone made the car look 100% better.
Next, they tackled the sideblades, which frankly are/were beyond repair so I didn’t expect much. In fact, they were so far gone I bought a new OEM set off eBay assuming these were a lost cause, but figured I’d see what the Elite Finish team could do while it was there. They started by wet sanding all of the deep scratches out, then polishing to a shine…this made it look a ton better, but still some visible defects. From there, they applied a tinted Paint Protection Film (PPF) which not only hid the rest of the scratches, but gave it a deeper shine and blended the carbon fiber with the dark blue paint better – making them look new again, and giving the car a custom yet OEM look once again, as well as protection against future damage. Mind blown!
What was cool was that they called me throughout the process and texted me pictures of the progress so that I could be involved in the direction – including showing me examples of what it looked like with clear vs tinted PPF, how it cleaned up after wet sanding but no PPF, so I could make the final call on how much time and money we wanted to spend seeking perfection.
Next, they moved on to the interior and did a deep clean. There was so much build up of dirt over the years that the whole interior practically changed color, increasing the contrast of the two-tone Audi Exclusive interior and making everything look fresh again.
Next, they removed the wheels, deep cleaned them, and then ceramic coated both the wheels and calipers – yet another game changer that I am a huge believer in.
Finally, they paint corrected the whole car…and took out tons of marring and defects that happen over the years (the car is a 2008 after all). Once the paint was in top shape, they applied three different layers of ceramic coating – their special blend of three different products to achieve greater durability and shine – and holy crap, it puts DIY ceramic jobs to shame.
I can especially tell the difference in their ceramic coating applications versus mine after having the car back for almost two months – I haven’t washed the car once with my foam cannon, and I’ve only had to do one Wash Mist (waterless wash) application…the car just doesn’t get dirty anymore, it’s crazy.
If you think DIY ceramic coating is amazing (as I do), then wait until you have it done by Elite Finish – it’s night and day difference.
When my car was done, they took such pride in the car that they wouldn’t let me see it until they moved it in the shop to where the best lighting was so that I could really appreciate all of the details. To Kevin and the Elite Finish crew, the “grand reveal” of the car is like Christmas day and you can tell they really care about the results and happiness of their customers.
While I still love doing my own detailing, if you either don’t have the time to do so, or have a car that you feel is worth investing in a professional experience, I can’t recommend Elite Finish enough…while it ain’t cheap, the outcome is worth every penny.
A big thanks to Kevin and the team at Elite Finish for taking such great care of me!